Duergar Guide 5e

Published on December 26, 2022

Hailing from the pitch black Underdark, duergar are durable creatures infused with mysterious magic.

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What is this guide?

This guide is meant to give you an idea of whether or not the duergar will be right for your 5e character build.

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good that option will be for your duergar. This color coding isn’t a hard and fast rule; there are plenty of sub-optimized options out there that will be viable to your party and will be fun to play.

  • Black is a trait shared by many races and or will not impact the effectiveness of your character build
  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange Situationally good, but a below-average option otherwise
  • Green is a good option
  • Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything Update

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything has added the "Customizing Your Origin" option that may affect the ability score increases, languages, and proficiencies in this guide. To read more about this, visit our D&D Race Guide.

What are Duergar in 5e?

Source: Monsters of the Multiverse

The duergar are a race of short, stout humanoids that hail from caves and other underground environments. Sometimes called gray dwarves, the duergar’s strange magical abilites are fueled by the mysterious Underdark, making these hardy creatures effective in dark, dangerous environments.

In 5e, duergar are a playable race that can excel in any role. They have unique magical abilities and natural resilience, making them ideal for frontline tanks as well as out-of-combat utility. Given their long history of living in dark and dangerous underground environments, duerger have some of the most potent Darkvision out of all the playable races.

Whether you are looking to play a duergar yourself or simply learn more about this unique race, you’ve come to the right place! So whether you’re gearing up for your next adventure or just curious about these fascinating creatures, keep reading to learn more about duergar in 5e.

Duergar 5e Traits

Darkvision: Typical Darkvision is only 60 feet. So, having 120 feet of vision dark environments can give you a massive tactical advantage. Especially for ranged martials, spellcasters, and stealth-based builds.

Duergar MagicEnlarge/reduce and invisibility are both solidly useful spells. This ability has been improved from the original duergar as these spells can be cast using spell slots, if you have the necessary spell slots for the casting.

Dwarven Resilience: Resistance against poison and the poisoned condition is a nice defensive boost because they are both relatively common.

Psionic Fortitude: Charmed and stunned can both be debilitating conditions in combat and having advantage on saves is useful, especially at higher levels.

Which 5e Classes Work With Duergar?

Since their update in Monsters of the Multiverse, duergar have gotten a significant power boost. Not only are they no longer sensitive to sunlight, but they’ve received additional defensive buffs and their spellcasting feature has been improved.

Artificer: Some resistances and extra spell castings are a solid bonus for just about any artificer build.

Barbarian: Advantage against stunned and charmed will help keep you fighting longer. Unfortunately, you're not able to concentrate on either of the spells granted by Duergar Magic when you're raging.

Bard: Some spells and survivability are nice, but nothing here is particularly compelling.

Cleric: You get to grab invisibility, which you don't normally have access to. Also, the survivability is nice for melee clerics.

Druid: You get to grab invisibility, which you don't normally have access to. Unfortunately, you can't cast use your Duergar Magic spells while wild shaped.

Fighter: The improved Darkvision can give you the upperhand in dark environments, especially if you're going for a DEX ranged fighter. For melee fighters, you'll love the ability to cast enlarge/reduce for a bit of extra damage on your hits, as well as the damage resistances. Overall, a really solid race for fighters.

Monk: Unfortunately, RAW your monk's unarmed attacked don't get the extra 1d4 damage from being enlarged. Other than that, monks would appreciate the extra survivability duergars provide.

Paladin: As a paladin, you won't be doing a ton of sneaking. But, when you do, the improved Darkvision and free casting of invisibility can give you the upperhand. You'll also love the ability to cast enlarge/reduce for a bit of extra damage on your hits, as well as the damage resistances. Overall, a really solid race for paladins.

Ranger: The improved Darkvision can give you the upperhand in dark environments, especially if you're going for a DEX ranger. For melee rangers, you'll love the ability to cast enlarge/reduce for a bit of extra damage on your hits, as well as the damage resistances. Overall, a really solid race for rangers.

Rogue: The extra Darkvision will really help when sneaking around dark environments, as will the free casting of invisibility. As for enlarge/reduce, you can use the enlarge option to help overcome your STR shortcomings or the reduce option for infiltration missions. Finally, the resistances are always welcome.

Sorcerer: The free castings of invisibility and enlarge/reduce, can help with your limited spells known. The survivability isn't a huge deal as you shouldn't be up front to tank these effects for your party, but is useful nonetheless.

Warlock: The free castings of invisibility and enlarge/reduce, can help with your limited spell slots and spells known. Unfortunately,  enlarge/reduce doesn't scale with level and invisibility can be annoying to use if you only have 3rd-level spell slots to use. Still, the free casting is nice. The survivability isn't a huge deal as you shouldn't be up front to tank these effects for your party, but is useful nonetheless.

Wizard: The spells are nice, but not entirely necessary because all the spells you learn as a wizard. The resistances are useful if you get hit or targeted with effects, but again aren't particularly sought after.

Sources Used in This Guide

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. Outside of writing for Arcane Eye, Mike spends most of his time playing games, hiking with his girlfriend, and tending the veritable jungle of houseplants that have invaded his house. He is the author of Escape from Mt. Balefor and The Heroes of Karatheon. Mike specializes in character creation guides for players, homebrewed mechanics and tips for DMs, and one-shots with unique settings and scenarios. Follow Mike on Twitter.

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